I feel like I've been on this journey with blinders on, peeking out when I feel ready to tackle the next issue. Fortunately, I have Eric, who long ago researched pretty much everything there is to know about rectal cancer, treatment, you name it. When I ask a question, he knows the answer, or if he doesn't, he knows exactly where to find it. Something as big and life changing as cancer, it's so overwhelming. I know it's a lot for Eric too, but I'm grateful that he's able to suck it up and get us where we need to go.
So I don't even remember why or how, but yesterday I started reading stories about people with colostomies. There was a thread on colonclub.com discussing why there is such a negative reaction to colostomies, and many people shared their own experiences. Some were bad, most were good after the adjustment. I read about people who are just as active as they were before their ostomy, people who travel and swim (hello, snorkeling!), and have jobs and live life. Some websites were suggested, ostomyland.com and uoaa.org, so I dipped my pinkie toe in the water of what will be a huge change for me, for our family. One of the posters on the thread I mentioned suggested that perhaps fear of the unknown is what makes people so negative about colostomies. I would agree with this. Reading stories and information makes me feel better about the path my life is taking.
Would it be awesome if by some miracle the surgeon went in and discovered that the tumor had shrunk enough to save my anal sphincter? After what I've read about life without a rectum...I don't know. That probably sounds crazy. For a lot of people maybe it would be a no-brainer. Of course, anything BUT a colostomy. Perhaps I feel differently because when my doctor called me, when I stood outside the Oshkosh Library, he said, "You have rectal cancer. It will involve surgery and a permanent colostomy." I've had a long time to get okay with those facts. My doctor didn't beat around the bush or give any false hope. I appreciate that, as crappy as it was to hear. Oh I have my moments, my "Holy shit, I have cancer!" or my "Holy shit, I'm going to have a colostomy!"
Anyway, knowledge is power. So I choose to start gathering some knowledge. The sites I mentioned are helpful, in case anyone is interested in learning some stuff too.